Combrig 1/350 HMS Kent

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The HMS Kent was a 9,800 ton Monmouth class Armored Cruiser built in March 1901. Armed with fourteen 6" guns she was lightly armed compared to other ships of that era. She served on China Station and was decommissioned in 1913. When the First World War broke out she was recommissioned and sent to the Falkland Islands as part of a Squadron consisting of battlecruisers HMS Invincible and Inflexible, the armored cruisers HMS Carnarvon, and Cornwall, and the light cruisers HMS Bristol and Glasgow. A German squadron consisting of the armored cruisers, SMS Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, light cruisers SMS Nurnberg, Dresden and Leipzig were intent on raiding the British base at Stanley. The German ships failed to catch the British ships in port and instead were chased down by the better equipped British ships. While the big ships did battle Kent sent off to catch the Nurnberg. After a high speed chase the German cruiser turned to fight, but was soon overwhelmed and sank two hours later. The other British ships had similar successes but one ship, the Dresden managed to escape. 

Kent was sent back to China Station in March 1915. Thanks to intelligence reports she was able to catch up to the Dresden lying at anchor in the Cumberland Bay in the Juan Fernandez Islands. In what would come to be know as the Battle of Mas a Tierra,  Kent, Glasgow, and Orama surprised the helpless Dresden. After a brief exchange of gunfire that left the Dresden on fire, the white flag was run up. But instead of surrendering the Dresden was scuttled putting an end to the German East Asian Squadron of commerce raiders. 

Kent returned to England to serve out the war in home waters often performing convoy escort duties in the Channel. After the war she once again set sail to China and in 1919 she supported American and Japanese forces in action against the Bolsheviks in Vladivostok. Now thoroughly worn out she was sold for scrap and broken up in 1920.

This new kit from Combrig represents the ship soon after commissioning in 1903. It is available as full hull or waterline. We will examine the waterline version.

The hull on this kit is pretty amazing for a resin kit. Cast with most of the interior hollowed out. This saves resin and allows for more consistent casting quality. Of course the modeler is more concerned with what's on the outside and Combrig doesn't disappoint here. The surface detailing is very fine and sharp and there are no defect to fix. The deck has nice planking and the hatches and other details are well executed. The only thing that I don't like is the shallow two dimensional hawsepipe openings on the hull. 
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The superstructure parts are cast onto a thin resin wafer. The detailing is very nice, but you will have to spend a little time flat sanding to remove the wafer. Funnels are nicely done and are engineered to plug into the mounting holes on the hull. This allows for a precise fit without worrying about over sanding.
The two main guns are cast in one piece with separate gun barrels. The turrets fits snugly into the mounting holes in the hull. The 6" gun barrels are well done for resin, but advanced modelers may want to consider replacing them with brass ones. 
The small details are really well done. A couple of deck winches have some really intricate details. The funnel skirts are separate and fit onto the funnel bases in a well designed fit. Cable reels, anchors, light guns, and capstans are all very well cast and finely detailed. Take a look at the photos to really appreciate the fineness of these parts. They are truly some of the best there are. Although my kit is supposed to be the waterline version, it included the props and prop struts along with the rudder. 
The ships boats come in a variety of styles. As with their other kits, these are very detailed and some like the steam launch feature separate stacks. They are almost little kits in themselves. 
A photo etch fret is included with some detail parts that are not suited for resin. The framework that supports the boats, their cradles, braces, and anchor chain are among the parts included on the fret. Etching pretty good but not to the quality of some of the more specialized aftermarket companies. You will have to supply your own railings.
The Instructions are four pages with a plan and elevation on the front, graphic bill of materials, and two pages of exploded views. These are very well drawn but are missing part numbers to identify the parts. You will have to match it up to the illustrations. Cut lengths for the mast parts are included, a nice touch. There is also a full hull version of this kit so don't be confused by the extra parts shown. 
I feel like I am repeating myself, but this is one well engineered kit with very sharp detailing. I am glad to see Combrig bringing more of these historic ships to market in this scale. This one will be a welcome addition to your Grand Fleet or Falklands Squadron. It's not for the beginner, but the smart fitting parts will make this a fairly easy kit for someone who has tackled a few resin kits. For the advanced builder, it is an excellent platform for super detailing!

This kit is available for $190 for waterline and $240 for the full hull version. Check the Combrig site for details on where to get yours and for other new Combrig kits.